Understanding IVA and DBS Checks: Clarifying Common Misconceptions

An “Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)” is a legally-binding agreement made between an individual and their creditors. This agreement allows the individual to repay their debts over a set period, typically five to six years. Designed as an alternative to bankruptcy, an IVA is a solution for individuals who find themselves unable to repay their entire debt amount. Once the IVA period concludes, any remaining debts are usually written off.

What is a DBS Check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check delves into an individual’s criminal history. Previously known as a CRB check, this process is essential for employers and organizations to ascertain the suitability of an individual for specific roles. This is especially crucial for positions that involve interaction with vulnerable groups, such as children or the elderly.

Will an IVA show up on a DBS check? The adverse credit check will also show up any individual voluntary arrangements (IVA), county court judgements (CCJ), or bankruptcy. Not all companies will ask for an adverse credit check, as they are not compulsory, but many do.

Can I join the police with an IVA? Applicants with a current Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA) will not be considered. However, if it has been discharged, and you have a certificate of satisfaction, you may be considered.

Can I sell my car in an IVA? An IVA protects you from having to sell your car. You will also be allowed to set aside sufficient funds each month from your income to enable you to maintain the car and keep it in a roadworthy condition. Other running costs such as road tax and MOT costs are also accountable.

Do you lose your house with an IVA? How will an IVA affect my home? Under an IVA it’s unlikely you’ll have to sell your home. However, depending on the amount of equity in your home, you may have to re-mortgage six months before the end of your IVA to release equity. This will then be paid into your IVA.

Credit Score Impact:

Entering into an IVA can have a detrimental effect on one’s credit score. This financial arrangement remains on the individual’s credit file for six years from its commencement date. Consequently, securing credit during this period can pose significant challenges.

Asset Restrictions:

While an IVA offers protection for primary assets, such as one’s home, it might necessitate the release of equity from these assets to satisfy creditors. Furthermore, individuals might be required to sell luxury items to contribute funds towards the IVA.


The DBS check process is initiated either by the individual in question or their prospective employer. This involves completing an application form and submitting the necessary identification documents.

Types of DBS Checks:

DBS checks come in various levels:

  • Basic: Reveals unspent convictions.
  • Standard: Discloses both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings.
  • Enhanced: Covers everything in the Standard check and any additional information held by local police deemed relevant to the role.

Employment Decisions:

DBS check outcomes play a pivotal role in recruitment decisions. Employers leverage these results to ensure the safety and integrity of their organization and its clientele.

Legal Implications:

Certain job roles, especially those that involve vulnerable demographics, mandate a DBS check by law. Hiring someone with a negative DBS outcome for such positions can lead to legal consequences.

How long does an IVA last?

An IVA typically spans five to six years. However, its duration can vary based on individual financial situations and the terms agreed upon with creditors.

Can I travel abroad with an IVA?

There are no legal constraints on traveling abroad during an IVA. However, it’s imperative to maintain regular IVA payments throughout the travel duration.

How often do I need a new DBS check?

DBS checks don’t have a formal expiration date. The frequency of new checks is at the discretion of the employer or organization, depending on the nature of the role and its associated risks.


Will an IVA show up on a DBS check? – Additional Questions

How much debt can be written off with an IVA?

How much of my debt can be written off in an IVA? It’s possible to write off up to 85% of your debts, but this amount depends on how much you owe and how much your creditors agree to. You must include all of your unsecured debts, and your creditors will write off a portion of each of these.

How long after an IVA can I get car finance?

Can I get car finance after an IVA. Information about your IVA will be removed from the Insolvency Register as soon as it is completed. However, it will remain on your credit file a bit longer – around a year, depending on the length of your IVA. This can drag down your credit score.

Can I change my car while in an IVA?

Yes you can. Your IVA does not prohibit you from changing your car. Creditors recognise the importance of maintaining a serviceable vehicle and understand that most people would be lost without their car.

Can you get a mobile phone contract with an IVA?

Can I get a mobile phone contract with an IVA? There is nothing to say that you cannot take a mobile phone contract during your IVA, although you may need to think carefully about the cost of this and whether it will impact your ability to make payments to your IVA.

What is classed as a windfall in an IVA?

A windfall is money unexpectedly received during an IVA. For example, winning the lottery, an inheritance or large bonus payment. If your IVA has a windfall clause, you’ll have to pay the money into your IVA.

Can I get another IVA if one fails?

You have five possible options when an IVA has failed: you can choose another form of insolvency – a Debt Relief Order or bankruptcy. you can do nothing and deal with any debts you are contacted about. you can set up payment arrangements (or a DMP) for all the debts in your IVA.

What happens if I can’t afford to pay my IVA?

IVA repayments have become unaffordable

If this is the case, the first thing that you should do is let your insolvency practitioner (IP) know your situation. If you don’t inform them, then it becomes more likely that you will face legal action from your lender.

Can you get married while in an IVA?

No. An IVA stands for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement which means that it pertains to an individual person. Your partner or spouse is not expected to make contributions towards your IVA even if you’re married or are living together.

Can my wife pay off my IVA?

Your partner is not usually liable to pay your debts. However they can choose to pay your IVA on your behalf if you cannot afford to do so yourself.

What happens to my IVA if I move abroad?

Yes, you can continue with an IVA if you move abroad, as long as you can keep up your repayments while living there. But some people discover that the cost of living abroad is actually a lot higher than they thought and this can cause trouble when it comes to making IVA repayments.

Can I sell my house during an IVA?

Yes, once your IVA is complete the property is yours to do with as you wish. It is important to ensure that you have your IVA completion certificate before proceeding with a house sale.

Does an IVA affect car insurance?

Bankruptcy, IVAs and DROs will affect the price you can expect to pay for car insurance for two main reasons. Firstly, insurance providers will consider you a higher risk when you have these.

How badly does an IVA affect credit rating?

Having an IVA will make a negative mark on your credit rating, but not permanently. Indeed the chances are that if you need an IVA, your credit rating won’t be particularly good to begin with due to missed or late loan repayments.

Can an IVA last 3 years?

An IVA typically lasts for 5 years (60 months), although there is actually no set length written into the Insolvency Act 1986. In some circumstances, if you are able to offer your creditors a lump sum in settlement of your debts, an IVA can last for less than 5 years.

How long do you stay on the insolvency register?

Your details will normally remain on the register until three months after you’ve been discharged from bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy will also appear on your credit file for six years. This will affect your credit score and make it much harder for you to get credit.

Who checks the insolvency register?

These registers can be searched by the public and exist so that anyone including employers, landlords, lenders and credit reference agencies can verify details of insolvency.

What are the consequences of insolvency?

For limited companies (or limited liability partnerships known as “LLP’s”) the consequences of insolvency will mean that the business will go into liquidation and stop trading or go into administration and be sold (maybe to a new owner). In some cases the outcome may be a company voluntary arrangement.